Support Care Cancer. 2016 Aug;24(8):3507-15. doi: 10.1007/s00520-016-3176-4. Epub 2016 Mar 23.
The Needs Evaluation Questionnaire (NEQ) is a self-administered instrument with 23 dichotomous items that is used both in oncology clinical practice and in research. It was originally developed for use in setting of hospitalization. The aim of the present study was to assess the factor structure of the NEQ in an outpatient oncology sample and to compare the unmet needs of inpatients and outpatients in the Italian context.
In 6 Italian oncology departments, 783 patients completed the NEQ. Patients included in the study had different primary tumor sites and were in different phases of the disease and care process. There were 195 inpatients and 588 outpatients total.
Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) showed that, with outpatients, the NEQ retained the distribution of the items in five main areas previously described with inpatients. Cancer outpatients expressed high percentages of unmet needs primarily concerning “material needs” and “needs for psycho-emotional support.” Our survey also suggested that, in addition to the 23 original items, four new items could be tested for specific use with outpatients.
Our findings highlight the importance of establishing routine assessment of unmet needs also in clinical oncology settings different from wards-such as day hospitals, ambulatory rehabilitation, or follow-up ambulatory care-where, at least in the Italian context, the rate of unmet needs is currently considerably high. The NEQ could be an effective tool for this assessment.
Cancer; Oncology; Outpatients; Unmet Needs